The “free” jazz concert at the Camp Verde Phillip England Center, put on by Yavapai College and featuring the Australian jazz trio, Matt Baker & the Trio, was spectacular. It was an entertaining and delightful concert that came to Camp Verde last Saturday night at 7pm. And it was a first for Yavapai College, bringing a concert to our town. It looked like about 75+ attended the program.
However, there were two glitches. The first; The college and local newspapers never said their first sponsored concert would be free. A beautiful postcard from the college, sent via U.S. mail, shows the ticket price at $32 for adults.
The local newspapers (or at least one), wrote the same thing. But an email from OTCA I received last week said “this concert is free to members.” I am a member of OTCA? How? Didn’t know that. But ok, I decided to go. I also wanted to ask my neighbor (we live in Camp Verde), and she said she would pay to go.
We drove to the high school and walked in. The very sweet docents, who greeted us, said my friend didn’t have to pay either because “this is the first concert like it in Camp Verde and it’s free.” I was floored!
There would have been 75-plus more residents attend if they had known it was free. Very sad, not only for the exposure to the college (performing arts), but also for the 3 fine entertainers who could have played for a bigger audience.
Lastly, the number two glitch; The final musical arrangement was one that was well known to most people in the audience and the jazz rendition of it was performed perfect.
But what wasn’t cool, was when the lead piano player/singer asked the audience who was the most popular trombone player in Australia and what female jazz singer is one of the most popular singers there. Silence.
When the audience didn’t mutter either response, the band leader said “oh, I forgot, this is Camp Verde.” That was a terrible and hurtful thing to say to us.
So, a wonderful and entertaining evening with a couple glitches. But I’ll still come to the next Yavapai College sponsored concert, even if I have to pay.
Cheryl Hall Cassady
Editor’s Note: According to Craig Ralston, Director of the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, “We were thrilled that 135 folks attended and for the many wonderful comments about our new programming in the Verde Valley.
“We had indeed anticipated selling $32 tickets but when we had only sold 24 tickets after extensive marketing and promotion (postcards, flyers, posters, ads in paper, Kudos, radio, social media), we traveled personally to Camp Verde, Sedona and Cottonwood/Clarkdale handing out complimentary tickets to key business and organizations.
We felt it necessary to facilitate attendance by offering this event complimentary rather than have 24 paid seats in the house.
We did not market the complimentary tickets since the decision was made a week before the concert and we had already spent a large amount on advertising.
“We understand that our first season in the Verde will take time and continued efforts to promote and gain support from the communities but we are committed to bring the performing arts to the Verde Valley.”